Barracuda89

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Everything posted by Barracuda89

  1. 1. To me, it seems that the parody style of Ferrell and McKay is most similar to that of Mel Brooks and ZAZ. Like in the scene we viewed yesterday from The Naked Gun, Anchorman is very aware that it is a parody, and isn't subtle about its parody status. Like Mel Brooks's fight scene in Blazing Saddles, some extraordinary events took place in that fight scene in which resources wouldn't have existed before the fight broke out. For instance, there were horses which seemingly appeared out of nowhere during the fight scene in Anchorman, as in Blazing Saddles in which weapons were brandished that were not shown before. 2. Seeing the cameos through the entire scene acts as a great slapstick gag because the audience is never sure when the cameos will stop and each one is a bit more outrageous than the last. 3. It seems as though Will Ferrell was most influenced by Leslie Nielsen, based upon today's daily dose alone, as I have never seen any Will Ferrell movies. He was very serious, as Nielsen's character was in The Naked Gun, yet still made subtly funny physical movements, and had very funny dialogue that most reminded me of Nielsen.
  2. 1. ZAZ takes a zany fun approach to film parody as illustrated in this scene from The Naked Gun. Typically in police movies, the protagonist always looks debonair and in control, whereas, Leslie Nielsen’s character succumbs to the police airbag after misjudging the curb when he parks his car. Then, he is immediately run over by the car, only to be alerted by an elderly woman that the car is directly behind him. ZAZ makes it clear from the beginning of the scene that this is not the typical rugged, handsome, alpha-male police officer we are used to from many police films. 2. I find the ZAZ approach to spoofing similar to that of Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder’s approach, only lacking some subtlety. Young Frankenstein is full of subtle lines of dialogue, and acting done largely through facial expressions that are lacking in The Naked Gun. Where they are similar is that they each take a known aspect of the film genre they are spoofing and completely turn the expectation on its head to make a hilarious gag. In Young Frankenstein this is clear when the audiences, and Frederick, meet Igor; with the ominous music and shadowy lighting, we are expecting a much tenser meeting that turns into a verbal back and forth banter the audience remembers long after the film ends. In The Naked Gun, the scene in which Leslie Nielsen’s character looks into the microscope, in what would normally be a tense moment looking for clues, needs to be reminded to look into the glass with his open eye. 3. Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau and Leslie Nielsen’s Frank Drebin are similar in the ways that neither one is especially aware of their bodies. Of course, the actors are aware of their physical space, as that is what makes the comedy of their characters so funny; the characters however have no concept of their physical limitations. Inspector Clouseau knocking over the rack of pool cues and Frank Drebin popping off a piece of the microscope into his face are slapstick gold, and ways in which the two characters are similar.
  3. 1. This scene in Young Frankenstein successfully parodies Universal Horror films of the 1930's by setting up well the scientist character and his body of work. Clearly, in Dr. Frankenstein's speech, he knows a great deal about the central nervous system, which is essential to illustrate as he becomes a Dr. seeking to reanimate a human being. Without this set-up of a scientist in his lab, you don't understand the parody, nor the homage to 1930's horror movies experienced later in the film. 2. Being the fantastic writer that he was, Wilder moves between comic subtlety and broad slapstick humor, and back again, effortlessly. A broad stroke of slapstick humor is witnessed when Victor experiences his outburst while demonstrating reflex muscles on his unsuspecting subject. Then, in an immediate turn to the subtlety, the subject looks at Dr. Frankenstein confused before resuming his posture as the perfect subject, although now guarded. The camera hanging on the subject capturing his reaction after the strike was comic genius that resonated with the audience and a perfect testament to the subtle comedy Wilder was so great at. Another fantastic moment of subtle comedy comes when Dr. Frankenstein is entertaining a question from a student, the student rises and begins to call him by an unassumed pronunciation of his last name, just one look from Dr. FrONKenstein reminds the student to correct himself in pronunciation. Just that look, again acts as a testament to WIlder's subtle comedic force. After the line of questioning lengthens, WIlder's subtlety and jokes make way for a slapstick outburst in which he stabs himself with a scalpel. These moments and the one we do not get to see, the long pause after the Dr. realizes he has stabbed himself and attempts to remain in control over the situation while experiencing extreme pain truly show the comedic force Wilder had in both the arts of subtle comedy and broad slapstick farce. His greatness is truly missed! 3. On the most base level, no, this film nor its gags would have worked as well had the film been shot in color because that was not the artist's vision. Gene Wilder explicitly stated, at the earliest inception of the film that he wanted the project to be shot in black and white. If his wishes never came to fruition the film would have lost the heart that was injected by Wilder's freedom of artistic expression. Without the obvious parallels, all of which being in black and white, Young Frankenstein to 1930's Universal horror films a bit of the parody would have been lost had the film been in color.
  4. 1. From nearly the beginning of this scene, it feels like a live-action cartoon. From the glint of the tooth following an award winning smile from the protagonist to the attempted avoidance to the eventual landing of the basket on our antagonists, this scene embodies many aspects of a live action cartoon. 2. This scene acts as an homage to earlier slapstick comedies by encompassing many of the traits of slapstick comedy common in earlier slapstick comedies. For instance, the gag is physical because it involves Curtis using his body to escape death, exaggerated when the woman cannot stop kissing the protagonist, make-believe in the scenario of a man attempting to get out of a straight jacket while suspended under a hot air balloon, and violent when the basket crashes on the stories two villains. By using almost all the elements of earlier slapstick comedies, this scene acts as a fine homage to them. 3. The most simple way Blake Edwards distinguishes between hero and villain is by wardrobe. Having Curtis dressed in all white establishes him as the definitive hero; likewise, dressing Lemmon and Falk in all black ensures that they will be seen as the villains by the audience.
  5. 1. The gag that I chose to explore was the mangling of Seller's pool cue and subsequent shot which ripped the pool table. The set up for this gag was a treat to watch, as the actor was manipulating the cue while talking about "fealous jage". The payoff was then perfect when it is revealed to the audience just how much mangling Seller's has done to the cue, yet will still attempt to pull off a billiards shot. The exceptional setup that allows the audience to see what's happening without exposing it overtly is part of what makes Peter Seller's comedy unmatched. 2. The key attribute I understand from Sellers in this scene that makes him an effective slapstick character is his air of ignorance. Every slapstick character seems to have some aspect that they are ignorant of. In Sellers' case, he is so sure that he has solved the case, that he becomes ignorant of his surroundings and the effect he is having on them, creating some funny situations. 3. Sellers adds to the slapstick tradition of poking fun at detectives by the ever so obvious attempts he makes as fixing several mistakes he makes. For instance, after ripping the billiards table, he pulls and tugs at the ends of the ripped cloth in an overt, yet feeble, attempt to repair his mistake. The visual of the authority figure making a mistake, then being unable to fix it, so trying for a haphazard repair is one seen time and time again, yet done well as Sellers did, never gets old.
  6. 1. The addition of color adds a lot to the gags from the scenes viewed in today's Daily Dose of Doozy from The Long, Long Trailer. For instance, a pivotal bit in the first scene when the two were talking about their love for each other was the wine being poured. Color allowed the audience to understand what was being poured and make the scene a bit more relatable. The scene in which the actress is catapulted out the door is benefited by the color of the film as well. The splash into the mud with the rain falling around her was much more vibrant than it would have otherwise been had there been no color added. You can also see the contrast much clearer when the audience sees the mud against her pink nightwear. 2. Some techniques Vincente Minnelli used in The Long, Long Trailer to give the film a more cinematic feel were the camera angles and the staging. Cameras, although I Love Lucy revolutionized the way television shows were filmed, could not enjoy the freedom on a television set that they could on a film. The angles used in the scenes we viewed of The Long, Long Trailer would have been nearly impossible to film for a television audience. The staging was critical, as well, to give the film a more cinematic look. The audience really had to understand how cramped the principle actors were in these scenes and it was achieved well by the way Minnelli staged the scene, as opposed to the broad open spaces commonly seen on television at the time. 3. Lucille Ball injected a very body-conscious way of exacting her physical comedy, which is a benefit to slapstick. Oftentimes, she would involve herself in gags that used several parts of her own body; the grape crushing scene and chocolate eating assembly line scene from I Love Lucy instantly come to mind. For Lucille Ball, slapstick didn't stop at how she could contort or physically exert her body, as with some slapstick comedians of the past, she pushed the envelope of slapstick to see what else she could do with her body rather than just to her body.
  7. 1. I was amazed at how beautifully the building was used in Jacques Tati's scene. Each floor of the apartment had its own nuances that illustrated the character of the people that lived within its walls. Because of this outward personification, the apartment building itself can be used as a character that Tati can interact with, almost as if another person is sharing the scene with him. 2. The building is used to support Tati's physical comedy in such a refreshing splendid way. Tati weaves in and out, floor to floor, engaging with some part of the building on each floor. His interactions with the laundry line, and the window show just how resonating Tati's physical comedy still it today, even in 2016.
  8. 1. What sets Abbott and Costello's brand of verbal slapstick apart from that of the Marx Brothers is the unique aspect of the back and forth banter. The Marx Brothers are more insult-driven, or, rely often on sarcasm back-and-forth dialogue between 3-4 people. Abbott and Costello, however, being a duo, only rely on the wit and positioning of one other person. It was fun to see a duo go back and forth after watching the rapid-fire Marx Brothers. 2. I wholeheartedly agree with Wes Gehring's criticism of today's comedians. Abbott and Costello had a routine, starkly different than the haphazard way many comic actor's today approach comedy. 3. I am relly not sufficiently versed in the film career of Abbott and Costello but based on this clip, I look forward to becoming more familiar with them and their routines.
  9. Barracuda89

    Breakdown of a Gag, Episode 5: Playing Games

    As addressed in Breakdown of a Gag Episode 5, Baseball is a common theme among slapstick comedies, and I think that largely has to do with the symbolism of baseball as the all-American pastime. Baseball has been synonymous with summer in America for what seems like an eternity. When there is a sport so ingrained in the minds and hearts of audiences it is very easy to play to that in a comedic sense on-screen. Relatability seems to be a driving force for comedy, and it doesn't get much more relatable than baseball.
  10. I was so grateful to have this scene slowed down and explained for the construction aspect of the scene!
  11. Can anyone help me with adding a picture to my profile? I keep selecting one and saving but it does not appear.

  12. Humphrey Bogart is always on my mind.

  13. 1. When compared to Charley Chase and the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields brand of slapstick almost provides a better payoff because it is delivered much slower, and perhaps, a bit more deliberately. As noted by Gerald Mast, Fields has a domestic element not present in Marx Brothers comedies. He is also not delivering rapid-fire dialogue like the foursome. Fields relies on his reactions to the physical humor of his gags more so than a rapid dialogue exchange. What is also unique to Fields is the way he uses space in his gags. Fields is obviously a larger man than any of the Marx Brothers or Charley Chase, and instead of shying away from that fact, he uses it to his advantage making his gags even more funny in a unique way. 2. Before I get into the characteristics of the verbal gags Fields employs, I want to remark at how much I enjoyed his line delivery. I have never seen a W.C. Fields movie in its entirety, only clips; which is why I'm grateful to see The Bank Dick on TCM tonight. Being largely unfamiliar with him I am stricken by his pacing and deliberate dialogue, and quite enjoy it. Some characteristics of verbal slapstick according to Alan Dale that W.C. Fields used were the sarcastic asides, especially when talking to the man in the bar, and the comeback when interacting with the man at the car.
  14. 1. It would seem as if Alan Dale coined his definition of verbal slapstick after the Marx Bros. it fits them so well. They are certainly most known for the breakneck pace of the verbal comedy delivered like rounds from an assault rifle. They are always deprecating, often self-deprecating, and definitely tend toward the sarcastic. All of these elements make Marx Bros. skits still funny today. 2. Some characteristic gags employed by Chico and Groucho Marx in this clip include their sarcasm toward each other, their careful sentence construction preventing either of them from giving the other too much information, and their clothes that are very reminiscent of their vaudeville upbringing. 3. The two conditions of visual slapstick that remain in verbal slapstick include the exaggerated way in which the two deliver their lines, the repetitive/ritualistic way that the two banter back and forth, and the make-believe elements of the subject matter they are discussing.
  15. Charley Chase was a slapstick actor I was not familiar with so it was fun to see the clip Pip From Pittsburgh. 1. Chase embodies each of the five elements of slapstick: exaggerated, physical, ritualistic, make believe, and violent. From his expressions while he's shaving to the painful sprays to the eye, Chase shows the range of slapstick even in a small clip. 2. I find this clip to confirm Gerald Mast's assertion that Chase's greatest emotion is exasperation. After a few of his attempts to clean up fail, Chase nearly breaks the fourth wall as if to say to the viewer "Can't something just go right?" In quintessential slapstick form, however, Chase perseveres and eventually accomplishes what he set out to do, no matter how unconventional the methods are. 3. One can tell that this Chase clip is an early talkie, while the medium was still transitioning to sound films, the clip isn't hurt by this fact, however. The sound and action is mostly synchronized with the sound playing a pivotal role in the action, as it had in the silent gags, as well.
  16. 1. Lloyd uses the setting of Coney Island extremely well in his creation of an original slapstick gag. He takes the audience to each unique place that we can all relate to at a fair or carnival. Being able to relate to what is seen on-screen is essential to audience appreciation of Lloyd's work. 2. I don't quite agree with Schickel's assessment of Lloyd as a more real comic actor that Keaton or Chaplin. What I do agree with is that Lloyd could, perhaps, see the possible absurdity and comedy in everyday life than Chaplin or Keaton emulated. Lloyd seemed to recognize that funny things happen organically quite often in everyday life and focused more on that rather than create elaborate gags for laughs. 3. The contribution of recognizing the comedy in everyday situations was Lloyd's greatest contribution to comedy. Modern-day comedy takes a very similar approach to Lloyd. Shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld instantly come to mind as shows that explore everyday life and the comedy that is experienced organically rather than any comedy being forced. Lloyd paved the way for realizing the comedy in everyday life.
  17. 1. The element that makes this Buster Keaton gag so effective is the props. At each turn in the gag Keaton is interacting with some props in a really visually fantastic way proving that the props in a gag can become characters themselves. 2. The largest difference I see between Chaplin and Keaton's comedy is the focus on triumph and failure. Chaplin's comedy relies heavily on his character eventually triumphing over the injustices that he faced. Keaton, on the other hand, Keaton seems to meet failure at every turn in his comedy. 3. When I watch gags like this, I see Keaton paving the way for physical comic actors of today. People like The Three Stooges and even modern-day Jim Carey seem to borrow heavily from the Buster Keaton extremely physical approach to comedy.
  18. 1. I would agree with the assessment that there is a visual component missing from today's comedies that were present in earlier comedies. Physicality in comedy has gone through a rigorous transformation, and I for one, miss that interactive physical comedies of the greats. You just don't see comic actors like Chaplin or the Marx Bros. in today's comedic offerings. Timing and pacing has undergone drastic changes in modern comedy and I think that is largely what is missing. 2. In addition to the camera placement in the middle distance, what also makes today's video effective as a visual comedy is the musical accompaniment. The music changes drastically from when the audience is introduced to the Little Tramp. That music changes the way we perceive Chaplin's character and almost acts as a character itself providing cues to the action on screen. 3. A gag like this, with its brilliant on-screen execution, is essential to the history of slapstick comedy. With film at the beginning of the medium's history, it was necessary to film great gags like this and show the humor in the most basic of situations. There could be no jumping off point if it weren't for gags like this that show how to film comedic situations and how to execute physical comedy.
  19. 1. When considering whether or not 1912-1930 was "comedy's greatest era" or its "Golden Age", my answer is what it always is when deciding absolutes; yes and no. I believe it to be true that this era of film produced the best physical comedy we have ever seen, and thusly, could be considered slapstick's golden age, but there are many types of comedies and it is far too difficult to pinpoint one section of time as a golden age of comedy. For me, yes, 1912-1930 was the golden age of physical comedy, but not the golden age of comedy in general. 2. I do agree with the narrator that the gags were completely visual. You don't see too much physical comedy modern-day that you did in the years between 1912-1930. This type of comedy is definitely the most enduring because no matter who you are or where you live, you have a body. It is therefore easy to imagine the contortions and predicaments the bodies seen on screen happening to your own. Relate-ability is the key for endurance. 3. These documentaries and essays are crucial to bringing awareness, thus, allowing people to form opinions about silent films and slapstick.
  20. Barracuda89

    Letterboxd users

    That's a great idea! I'm always looking for more people to connect with on Letterboxd, myself. I am: http://letterboxd.com/Barracuda/ If you want to follow. I've followed you and look forward to reviewing these movies!

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